Technical vs. writing skills

Subject: Technical vs. writing skills
From: BURGAMW1 <burgamw1 -at- TEOMAIL -dot- JHUAPL -dot- EDU>
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1993 09:23:25 EDT

We do science rather than technical writing and editing. Whenever we're hiring
writers/editors, we go through all the arguments for and against people with
writing backgrounds vs. those with technical or science backgrounds. Of course,
we want someone with both. We've found, for our type of work, that the best
combination is someone with a liberal arts degree who has majored in a science.
They have enough background in various sciences to be able to learn other
sciences and technologies and usually a fairly good grounding in the use of
language. If they're experienced science writers/editors, that's even better.

In addition to writing skills and the ability to learn quickly, one of the most
important attributes of a good science writer, in my opinion, is curiosity.
The more a writer can learn about different sciences and technologies, the
better he or she can write about them.

Murrie Burgan, JHU Applied Physics Laboratory

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